Federal Judge Rejects Tulsi Gabbard’s $50 Million ‘Political Bias’ Lawsuit Against Google
A California federal judge dismissed a $50 million political bias and free speech lawsuit Tuesday that Democratic presidential candidate, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), filed against Google for the tech giant’s brief suspension of her campaign’s advertising account last summer.
Gabbard alleged that Google violated the first and fourteenth amendments when the private company locked her account for six hours after the first Democratic debate.
Gabbard is still in the race for president, despite placing fifth on Super Tuesday and only scoring two delegates. She is among the three Democratic candidates left still vying for the Democratic nomination – including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Gabbard performed well in the first debate and claimed the lock on her account rendered the campaign incapable of advertising to people who sought out more information about her. The suit also claimed that the lockout had diminished opportunities for campaign funding and message circulation.
U.S. District Court Judge, Stephen Wilson, dismissed the case, Tulsi Now, Inc. v. Google, LLC, and ruled that Gabbard failed to demonstrate that Google violated the first amendment.
“Google’s self-regulation, even of topics that may be of public concern, does not implicate the First Amendment,” Wilson wrote.
“The First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content,” according to the motion.
Gabbard claimed that Google, took on the role of a government when it accepted political advertising, which binds it to the amendments, and that Supreme Court precedence states that a private entity can be considered a state-actor in limited circumstances.
Wilson wrote that Google’s self-regulation is not “in any way equivalent to government regulation of an election.”